At the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust, the health and wellbeing of our visitors, volunteers and staff are our number one concern. We have been closely following the guidance of the Government, NHS and Public Health England and in light of the Prime Minister’s advice on Monday 15th March, regret to inform you that we are closing the Visitor Centre from Wednesday 17th March until further notice.
The Clifton Suspension Bridge itself will remain open to vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. There is now a one-way system operating on the footways so that pedestrians can maintain the recommended distance of 2 metres from other members of the public. We also ask that runners do not overtake others on the bridge.
If you are participating in a booked tour or event you will be contacted regarding the cancellation or postponement of your visit.
In common with other charities and arts institutions, we need your support more than ever at this time. Please, if you are able, consider making a donation or purchase from our online shop or buy a Hard Hat Tour tour gift voucher so that we can plan ahead to support the educational work of the Trust. Founded in 1952, it is the Trust’s goal to inspire the engineers of the future by providing unique opportunities to explore the past, present and future of Brunel’s ‘ornament of Bristol’.
Thank you for your understanding and continued support. We hope to welcome you back again soon.
Crossing the bridge is FREE for cyclists and pedestrians and £1 for all motor vehicles under 4 tonnes. Please be aware that there is no car park for the Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre. General parking and the Blue Badge Parking Bays in the Leigh Woods layby have been suspended due to Toll House refurbishment works. Please visit our 'How to Find Us' page for more information on alternative travel by bus and on-street parking in the local area. We apologise for the inconvenience.
If you'd like to bring a group along, our 'Schools' and 'Groups' sections should provide you with all of the information you need to plan a successful day out!
Ten Things to do when Visiting the Clifton Suspension Bridge
1. Pop in to the Visitor Centre
The Visitor Centre can be found in Leigh Woods. Entry is free and it's open from 10am - 5pm every day. Inside you'll find an exhibition about the history of the bridge and the people who worked on it, children's activities, toilets and a gift shop!
2. Take a free tour
Free tours of the bridge take place at 3pm every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday between Easter and October. There's no need to book - simply meet your friendly volunteer guide at the Clifton Toll Booth!
3. Book a hard hat tour of the Leigh Woods Vaults
Discovered in 2002, the hidden chambers of the Leigh Woods Abutment are part of the structure which supports the tower and holds up the bridge. Designed by Brunel, the chambers were lost to history until their accidental discovery. Find out more and book your tour on our events pages. (Available Easter to October).
4. Climb Observatory Hill
There's a spectactular view of the bridge from Observatory Hill in Clifton. Follow the footpaths to the top - and if you're feeling brave zoom back down on the Rock Slide, polished smooth by Bristolian bottoms over hundreds of years! For a small fee you can also visit the Camera Obscura and Giant's Cave at Clifton Observatory.
5. Feel the Bridge Move
Suspension bridges are designed to be flexible and this bridge is always on the move. Look up just before you cross and you may see the hangers (the long iron poles which hold the bridge deck) vibrating. Look down and you may see the bridge deck moving up and down as cars enter and leave the bridge under the tower arch. Stop in the middle and close your eyes - or line up a building in the distance with the safety rail and wait and you may experience the bridge swaying!
6. Visiting with the Family? Try our Children's Trail
Priced at £2.75, our Children's Trail comes with pencil crayons, stickers and a tear out postcard. It's packed with activities which will help younger visitors to learn about the bridge, Bristol and Brunel - and has plenty of useful information in it to help with school projects. Pick one up from the Visitor Centre shop!
7. Discover the rare plants of the Avon Gorge
The Avon Gorge is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and The Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Trust maintain an award winning flowerbed on the Clifton side of the bridge where you'll find some of the rare plants which grow in the Avon Gorge. Visit between spring and autumn to see different species in bloom and learn all about them! Venture further afield and explore the Downs: acres of Common Land filled with wildflower meadows and popular with walkers, dog owners and kite flyers. Pick up historical guides from our Visitor Centre or follow the routes suggested on information boards. (In th summer months you may spot adult Peregrine Falcons hunting or new chicks fledging and learning to fly if you watch the cliffs under the Observatory! Each year Bristol Ornithological Club set up a peregrine watch point to protect peregrine nests and teach visitors about the birds. Find the Peregrine watchpoint and information board on Clifton Down - look for the Downs Circular Road near the junction with Ladies Mile.)
8. Watch the river rise and fall
The River Avon is a tidal river, rising and falling by 13 metres. There are high tides twice a day. Look out for the wooden jetties of the White Funnel Paddle Steamers which used to run pleasure trips to Newport, Wales, in the bank on the Clifton side.
9. See the Bridge from below
The Avon Trail is a popular route under the Clifton Suspension Bridge for walkers, joggers and cyclists. Strap on your hiking boots and ramble through Leigh Woods to reach it. After passing underneath, you can climb back up to the bridge through Nightingale Valley or continue following the river to Pill or Portishead. Pick up some directions from the Bridge Visitor Centre.
10. Stay for the Illuminations
The lights on the Suspension Bridge are turned on every night half an hour before dusk and stay on until midnight. Enjoy a spectacular view of Bristol and the river too! A popular spot during long summer evenings, the White Lion Terrace at the Avon Gorge Hotel is the perfect place to relax with a cold beer or cream tea while you watch the sun set.
Planning a longer visit? Find out what else is on nearby by visiting these websites:
If you're planning a trip from the US, take a look at England 101, who offer assistance in planning trips to trace your ancestry. Find out more about English language, history, culture and literature.